Not one, but two
Philadelphia Magazine currently utilizes two premedia centers: CRW Graphics receives all ad files, while Techna Graphics receives all art and editorial files. Why two? Cassell says, "It was really a matter of both quality and scheduling.
Having both at work allows us to handle and examine proofs on a better schedule." The magazine receives Iris proofs from both CRW and Techna, who in turn send TIFF/IT-P1 and DCS files to the printer. Fry imposes the files and generates Kodak Poly-chrome Graphics thermal plates on a CreoScitex PlateMaster 3244. The magazine is printed on Harris M1000B presses and assembled on a Heidelberg UB perfect binder.
Currently, the publisher sends CRW native application ad files, though the undeniable industry trend is heading toward publishers' acceptance of TIFF/IT-P1 and PDF/X-1. "That's not a reality for us now," explains Cassell. "We're not a huge magazine with billion-dollar advertisers. Since we are a regional magazine, many of our advertisers are local businesses. And many of those businesses are very small mom-and-pop stores that simply don't have the means or that kind of sophistication right now."
Making the best of things
When Philadelphia Magazine produced its annual "Best of Philly" edition last August, the production team was admittedly more anxious than usual. "The "Best of" edition is the one people save," says Cassell. "If there was one edition that had to be flawless, this was the one."
Crammed with graphic-heavy articles and advertisements, the annual "Best of Philly" edition weighs in at about 80 pages more than an average Philadelphia Magazine issue, and traditionally achieves a 25 percent increase in circulation. Last year marked the first time the coveted edition was completely digitally produced, and, according to Cassell, "It looked fantastic. We were really pleased."
Communication is key
For publishers who have yet to hop on the digital train, Cassell has literally one word of advice: communication. "It's so important to [maintain] ongoing communication between everyone involved—the publisher, prepress and printer. The whole digital process is fairly new and it's important that everyone know what to expect."